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Cobalt Light Systems

7 July 2017


(Credit: Cobalt)

STFC spin-out company Cobalt Light Systems has been acquired by analytical laboratory technologies firm Agilent Technologies.

Cobalt Light Systems is a spin-out from research undertaken at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at Harwell, and is a world leader in specialist laser-based detection systems.

Cobalt has recently committed to a 10-year lease on a new headquarters at the rapidly growing Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire UK and will become Agilent’s global centre for Raman spectroscopy.

Cobalt’s customers include many of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies and major global airports, and the company is expanding its markets in security and law enforcement, customs and borders protection, and emergency services.

Created in 2008 by STFC, Cobalt benefited from investment from the Rainbow Seed Fund - an early-stage venture capital fund backed by nine UK government research organisations. It also received support from Longwall Ventures, through its Oxford Technology ECF, who were the company’s largest shareholder and lead investor.

Cobalt Light Systems

Screening a Tetra Pak of baby food

Insight200M screening a Tetra Pak of baby food
(Credit: Cobalt)

Cobalt develops innovative products and technologies for non-invasive, through-barrier chemical analysis, for applications in airport security, hazardous-chemical identification and pharmaceutical QC. Cobalt’s instruments can rapidly and accurately identify materials hidden inside objects or through opaque barriers such as plastic, coloured glass, paper and skin, or can measure the concentrations of materials in mixtures, with a high degree of accuracy.

Headquartered in Oxfordshire, UK, with offices in Reston, Virginia, and Hong Kong, Cobalt was founded in 2008 as a spin-out from the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. Cobalt has been supported by the Rainbow Seed Fund since its inception. For more information, visit the Cobalt Light Systems website.

Rainbow Seed Fund

The Rainbow Seed Fund is an early-stage venture capital fund helping to set up commercially viable technology companies based around scientific advances from the National Research & Innovation Campuses. The Fund is backed by nine UK publicly-funded research organisations including STFC, BBSRC, Dstl and NERC and the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The Fund has successfully leveraged from the private sector more than 20 times its own investment creating over 550 high-value technology jobs. The Rainbow Seed Fund is privately managed by Midven, an established venture capital firm with a successful track record of investing in small and medium-sized enterprises. For more information, please visit the Rainbow Seed Fund website.

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000